Rumors of Termite-Infected Mulch Untrue
There is no truth to rumors that termite-infested trees downed by Hurricane Katrina are being mulched and shipped to home centers around the country, according to John Metaxas in an article posted online in the April 7 issue of This Old House.
However, “it is true that bite by tiny little bite, Formosan termites are dismantling much of the Gulf Coast, all the while shrugging off pest-control measures,” Metaxas writes.
Just after the hurricane, state authorities imposed a quarantine on the termite to strictly regulate the movement of all wood materials coming from the 12 New Orleans parishes with the worst damage, he said.
And Home Depot and Lowe’s say they have strict standards for materials that might contain pests and don’t even buy mulch from vendors in southern Louisiana.
The Formosan termite is a warm-weather bug that has reached nine southern states: Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, with smaller concentrations in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Both Southern California and Hawaii also have to contend with the insects, which form larger colonies and are more resistant to pesticides than domestic subterranean termites.
Termites cause an estimated $2.5 billion in damage to homes in the U.S. each year.
Accompanying the article is information on early detection of a termite home invasion and advice on keeping mice, rats, squirrels, skunks, bats, raccoons, snakes and opossums out of the house.